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TESS to Conduct Planet-Search Just a Few Hundred Light-Years Away from Earth, NASA States

Aug 01, 2016 10:20 PM EDT
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Another planet-hunting mission will be conducted by NASA this 2017 or 2018. As the company is scheduled to launch Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). The Satellite will roam around the deep space observing around 2,000 stars with the goal of finding possible habitable worlds.

TESS with roam outside the earth and observe stars that are closer to the earth, which is a few hundred light-years away, for two years. Using the "transit method," the satellite will search for tiny brightness dips, which planet produce when they orbit their host stars.

Aside from searching exoplanets, TESS will also conduct observations using the Guest Investigator (GI) Program. The program allows the satellite to perform several studies no matter what kind of astronomical target it is, according to Phys.

Once the satellite come across a potentially habitable planet, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is scheduled to launch by 2018, will then take hold of the next step, as it would take some follow-up study regarding the planet.

The partnership of TESS and JWST is expected to create a breakthrough in the planet-hunting mission of NASA that started years ago, officials of NASA said. Tess will be responsible for measuring the details of the newly found exoplanets such as its size, rotation to their parent star and its distance away from earth. JWST, on the other hand, will measure other information needed for the study.

James Webb Space Telescope will search for traces of life within examining the possible existence of oxygen and other gases which are needed for a living organism to survive, as reported by Space. The $8.8 billion telescope was named as the second NASA's famous Hubble Space Telescope.

Experts are also looking forward to the information that TESS can contribute in the study of celestial world. In fact, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center's TESS project scientist Stephen Rinehart said in his statement, "The cool thing about TESS is that, one of these days, I'll be able to go out in the country with my daughter and point to a star and say, 'There's a planet around that one.'"

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